When Altura/Academy Village poetry lovers gather on the first Friday of each month they are following a tradition started in 2003. Participants read from their own creations as well as from the works of poets who have inspired them. When they read for a general audience at the Arizona Senior Academy on Thursday (Jan. 25) they will follow a similar pattern.
Poems on paper communicate only in a one-dimensional way; reading aloud brings them to life. Six readers will do just that for their ASA performance.
Each person will do a short introduction of how he or she came to write poetry or simply came to love the poetry others write. Robin Gaither, who leads the Academy Village poetry group, will talk about the group in general, introduce the readers, and leave time at the end of the presentation for questions. In such a diverse group, many styles of expression emerge from people whose backgrounds include that of a physician, an artist, a newspaper editor, a law enforcement officer, and a spiritual advisor.
That first poetry group meeting back in 2003 was led by Ted Harrison, a retired scientist, who by that time had written over 200 poems. Of the nine AV residents who sat down that day only Helen Price currently attends the Friday meetings. Robin is the third moderator for the group having taken over in 2011 from Mari Stitt. Mari, well into her eighties, now emails rather than reading at meetings.
Mari Stitt wrote of Helen Price’s poems, “She writes with a certain precision which her voice duplicates, thoughts of crossing the desert, beautiful just traveling through.” And we are all traveling through—some describing that journey exquisitely, some finding meaning in the works of others.
Written by Beverley Robertson, Academy Village Volunteer